We’ve built privacy into the things you use every day.

The moment you begin using an Apple product or service, strong privacy measures are already at work protecting your information. We build extensive safeguards into our apps and the operating systems they run on.

iMessage and FaceTime

Your iMessages and FaceTime calls are your business, not ours. Your communications are protected by end-to-end encryption across all your devices when you use iMessage and FaceTime, and with iOS 8 your iMessages are also encrypted on your device in such a way that they can’t be accessed without your passcode. Apple has no way to decrypt iMessage and FaceTime data when it’s in transit between devices. So unlike other companies’ messaging services, Apple doesn’t scan your communications, and we wouldn’t be able to comply with a wiretap order even if we wanted to. While we do back up iMessage and SMS messages for your convenience using iCloud Backup, you can turn it off whenever you want. And we don’t store FaceTime calls on any servers.

iCloud

So much of your digital life now lives in the cloud. And we’re committed to making that experience secure and simple to use. Unlike our competitors, we never scan any of your iCloud data for advertising. All your iCloud content is encrypted in transit and, in most cases, when stored (see below). If we use third-party vendors to store your data, we encrypt it and never give them the keys. Apple retains the encryption keys in our own data centers, so you can back up, sync, and share your iCloud data.

One of the best ways to protect not only your iCloud account, but every online account you use, is to choose a strong, unique password. iCloud Keychain helps you do just that. In conjunction with Safari, it suggests strong, unique passwords for the websites you use. It stores them securely in a way that Apple cannot access and keeps them up to date on your devices. And it fills them in for you automatically when you log in to a website. In addition to a strong password, enabling two‑step verification gives you another layer of protection for your iCloud account and the information you keep there.
Learn more about iCloud security

Encrypted iCloud data
  • Photos
  • Documents in the Cloud
  • Calendars
  • Contacts
  • iCloud Keychain
  • Backup
  • Bookmarks
  • Reminders
  • Find My iPhone
  • Find My Friends
  • Mail and Notes (encrypted in transit)

Safari

A lot of people would like to know where you go and what you do on the web. Safari helps keep them from finding out. The first browser ever to block third-party cookies by default and offer private browsing, Safari is built to offer the safest browsing possible. It also automatically prevents suspicious sites from loading, and uses sandboxing to help keep harmful code confined to a single browser tab so it can’t reach the rest of your data.

Maps

Other companies try to build a profile about you using a complete history of everywhere you’ve been, usually because they’re targeting you for advertisers. Since our business doesn’t depend on advertising, we have no interest in doing this — and we couldn’t even if we wanted to. You don’t have to sign in to use Maps, and it only knows you by a random identifier that resets itself frequently as you use the app. Maps is also engineered to separate the data about your trips into segments, to keep Apple or anyone else from putting together a complete picture of your travels. Helping you get from Point A to Point B matters a great deal to us, but knowing the history of all your Point A’s and Point B’s doesn’t.

Siri and Dictation

The longer you use Siri and Dictation, the better they understand you and the better they work. To help them recognize your pronunciation and provide better responses, certain User Data such as your name, contacts, and songs in your music library is sent to Apple servers using encrypted protocols. That said, Siri and Dictation do not associate this information with your Apple ID, but rather with your device through a random identifier. You can reset that identifier at any time by turning Siri and Dictation off and back on, effectively restarting your relationship with Siri and Dictation. When you turn Siri and Dictation off, Apple will delete the User Data associated with your Siri identifier, and the learning process will start all over again.

If you have Location Services turned on, the location of your device at the time you make a request will also be sent to Apple to help Siri improve the accuracy of its response to your requests. You may choose to turn off Location Services for Siri and Dictation in your Privacy settings.

Mail

Some companies mine your email for personal information to serve you targeted ads. We don’t. To protect your privacy even more, all traffic between any email application and our iCloud mail servers is encrypted. We’ve also updated our mail servers to support encryption in transit with other email providers that also support it.

Apps and the App Store

On the App Store, we require app developers to agree to specific guidelines that are designed to safeguard user privacy and security. When we become aware of an app that violates our guidelines, the developer must address the issue or face removal from the App Store. Apple curates apps listed in the App Store to make sure that each app functions the way it’s described in the documentation. To protect you even further, once an app is installed on your device, you are prompted for permission the first time it tries to access certain information such as your location or photos. Of course, you always have the power to make precise changes about the permissions you’ve granted. We also make sure that there are certain types of data on your device that apps simply can’t access, and that there is no way for an app to ask for complete access to all of your data. This level of safeguards does not exist on other app platforms.

Health

The Health app gives you an easy-to-read dashboard of your health and fitness data. Of course, we recognize there are few kinds of information about you that are more personal and private. So it’s important to us that you have specific control over which Health data is shared with which apps. Apps that work with Health are prohibited by our developer guidelines from selling or sharing Health data to advertising platforms, data brokers, or information resellers. We also require apps that work with Health to provide a privacy policy that’s available for you to review. Your data in the Health app is encrypted with keys protected by your passcode, and never leaves your device unless you choose to back it up or grant access to a third-party app. When you do choose to back up your Health data through iCloud, it is encrypted both in transit and on our servers.

ResearchKit

ResearchKit is an open source software framework created specifically for the unique needs of medical research. Using the advanced technologies built into iPhone, it can help generate the type of robust data that is invaluable to medical researchers.

But we also know that nothing is more important than the privacy of your information, and ResearchKit has been designed with that in mind. You choose which studies you want to join and you are in control of what information you provide to which apps. With your consent, apps using ResearchKit can only pull relevant data from the Health app. If you choose to back up your Health app data to iCloud, it is always encrypted when stored and transmitted. 
Learn more

HomeKit

HomeKit introduces a new way for you to control supported devices in your home such as your lights and thermostat. And we’ve taken great care to make sure that the convenience this enables doesn’t come at the expense of your privacy. Apple does not know what devices you’re controlling, or how and when you’re using them, unless you ask Siri to control them. Even then, Siri only associates your HomeKit devices with your anonymous Siri identifier, not you personally. Apps supported by HomeKit are restricted by our developer guidelines to using data solely for home configuration or automation services. Data related to your home is stored encrypted in the keychain of your device. It’s also encrypted in transit between your Apple device and those you’re controlling.

Spotlight Suggestions

With iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, searching with Spotlight now goes beyond your device to give you suggestions from sources like Wikipedia, the iTunes Store, and Maps. Before it answers, Spotlight considers things like context and location while protecting your privacy by using an anonymous identifier that refreshes every 15 minutes. You can always opt out of Suggestions and continue to use Spotlight solely for local search on your device. You are also free to opt out of having Spotlight use Location Services any time you want. If you opt out, Spotlight will still use your IP address to determine a general location to make your searches more relevant. Unlike our competitors, we don’t use a persistent personal identifier to tie your searches to you in order to build a profile based on your search history. We also place restrictions on our partners so they don’t create a long-term trail of identifiable searches by you or from your device.

Randomized Wi-Fi addresses

When you’re out running errands with your phone in your pocket, Wi-Fi hotspots have the ability to track your movements and behavior by scanning your Wi-Fi MAC address. A MAC address is a string of characters that uniquely identifies your device on a network. With iOS 8, we’ve introduced an innovative feature designed to protect your privacy by randomizing your device’s MAC address when the device is passively scanning for Wi-Fi networks. Because your MAC address now changes when you’re not connected to a network, it can’t be used to persistently track you. This is in line with Apple’s industry-leading effort to do away with persistent identifiers, and is unique to iOS devices.

Security by design

We design our hardware and software to work seamlessly together, creating a great user experience in an environment that’s highly secure. Because iOS is designed with such a focus on security, most of the mobile malware in the world ends up on other platforms. And we’re always working to make it even more secure. We lead the industry in delivering operating system updates as quickly as possible, and we make it easy for you to download and install updates on your iOS device and Mac to take advantage of our latest protections.
Read our white paper on iOS security